Workers at Lifeway Foods Inc. facilities in Chicago voted to join BCTGM Local 1 (Chicago) a year and a half ago but remain without a union contract as the company refuses to negotiate with the union. And despite a 2015 order by the the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the company will not bargain in good faith.
Taking matters into their own hands, Local 1, with assistance from the International Union, has launched a campaign to bring this issue to the public’s attention.
In late February, Local 1 distributed fliers outside a fundraising campaign event for Hillary Clinton that was being sponsored by Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky. That action prompted Smolyansky to meet with Local 1 officers soon after, however the CEO has since ignored requests by the Local to bargain a union contract.
According to Local 1 President Donald Woods, the Local is willing to take this issue all across the country to gain support. “The BCTGM represents workers all across North America and we all look out for one another. There is great solidarity in this union,” says Woods.
To that end, the BCTGM distributed fliers during the Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim, Calif. on March 12 where Lifeway CEO was representing the Chicago company.
“The hard-working employees of Lifeway, who exercised their federally protected right to join a union, are having their rights trampled on by Ms. Smolyansky’s refusal to bargain,” concludes Woods.